Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes


France - third cycle (PhD) programmes

French Flag  is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured royal blue, white and red
Country: France
Population (mln): 65,07
Official language/s: French
Internet TLD: .fr
Calling code: +33
Member of the EU from: 25th March 1957
Unemployment rate Sep 2011 (%): 9,6
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2011 (%): 22,2
Males enemployment rate Sep 2011 (%): 9,1
Females unemployment rate Sep 2011 (%): 10,2
Unemployment rate Sep 2012 (%): 10,8
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2012 (%): 25,7
Males unemployment rate Sep 2012 (%): 10,5
Females unemployment rate Sep 2012 (%): 11,0
Population statistics 20-29 age group 2011 (%): 12,6
Country codes in education system: FR
Expected duration of education (years): 16,4

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes - Organisation of Doctoral Studies

The "doctorat" (PhD) is prepared in six semesters (it corresponds to a baccalauréatdiploma + 8 years of study). The diploma is awarded after presentation of a thesis.

This third level is one of high specialisation and research training. After the master's degree or a recognised equivalent, students showing aptitude for research can access PhD studies within the framework of doctoral schools. These schools allow the preparation of a doctorat (PhD) in three or four years (presentation of a thesis or of a set of work). In compliance with the commitments taken in the " Pacte pour la recherche ", expressed by the planning law for research no. 2006-450 of 18 April 2006, doctoral training has been renovated: the new order of 7 August 2006 bearing on doctoral training is consistent with the orientations set out in the "European Charter for Researchers" especially as regards the status of PhD students. Moreover, attention paid to the implementation of the "thesis charter", a genuine moral contract between the PhD student, his or her thesis supervisor, the doctoral school head and the director of the host laboratory, guarantees quality insofar as it defines the rights and duties of each party. The preparation of a thesis should be part of a personal and professional project clearly defined in its objectives and resources.

Consecutive to this reform adopted by the order of 7 August 2006, PhD training should offer young PhDs excellent training, attractive nationally and internationally, and the best possible career prospects. Four major orientations are defined: reassertion of doctoral schools as places to structure French doctoral training; primacy given to "quality assurance"; recognition of the doctorat (PhD) as "a professional research experience" and strengthening of measures to guarantee excellent training; creation of doctoral schools made accessible to all higher education institutions.

Moreover, doctoral studies allow:

  • a scientific framework guaranteed by recognised research units or teams;
  • training useful for steering their research project and elaborating their professional project;
  • international opening;
  • the possibility of doing a work placement;
  • integration monitoring.

During their doctoral training, PhD students take support training courses and pictograms in teaching sessions, seminars, missions or placements organised within the framework of the doctoral school.

Eurypedia - The European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems

Source: Eurydice,
Eurypedia - The European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems , Eurosta,, Agency for Science and Higher Education Croatia, Department of Education and Skills Irelan,  Ministry of Education and Culture - FINLAND

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